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Britain’s FM Says China Must Pressure North Korea More Over Weapons Tests

  • RFE/RL

The intercontinental Hwasong-14 ballistic missile is seen in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic-missile (ICBM) test this week was “reckless” and illegal and that it is important for the world to stand together against Pyongyang’s actions.

Speaking to the BBC on July 6, Johnson said China must take additional steps against North Korea over its nuclear weapons and ballistic-missile tests.

"What the North Koreans are doing is reckless, it's indefensible, it's in defiance of UN resolutions," Johnson said ahead of a July 7-8 Group of 20 summit in Hamburg.

"The single most important thing is that the country with the most direct economic relationship with North Korea -- that is, China -- has got to continue to put on the pressure,” Johnson said. “In the last six months or so, we are seeing some real changes in Beijing's attitude to North Korea and that's got to go further."

Johnson’s remarks came just hours after the U.S. ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said the United States would use its “considerable military forces” on North Korea “if we must.”

“The United States is prepared to use the full range of our capabilities to defend ourselves and our allies,” Haley told an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on July 5.

“One of our capabilities lies with our considerable military forces,” Haley said. “We will use them if we must, but we prefer not to have to go in that direction.”

Haley described North Korea’s July 4 ICBM test as a sharp military escalation and she threatened to respond with further trade restrictions, including moves to cut off trade with other countries that do business with Pyongyang in violation of UN resolutions.

"We will not look exclusively at North Korea,” she said. “We will look at any country that chooses to do business with this outlaw regime.”

Haley also told the 15-member Security Council that the United States will soon present a new resolution calling for further sanctions on North Korea.

The ambassadors of France and Britain said they would back a new resolution strengthening sanctions against North Korea.

Russia condemned North Korea’s actions but told the Security Council that it opposes further sanctions or any military force against Pyongyang.

Russia's deputy UN ambassador, Vladimir Safronkov, said a compromise between North Korea and Washington is needed to ease tensions.

But North Korea has said it would not negotiate unless the United States ended what Pyongyang called a “hostile policy.”

China's UN ambassador, Liu Jieyi, also condemned North Korea’s ICBM launch, calling it a "flagrant violation" of UN resolutions and "unacceptable."

But he said Beijing -- North Korea's only ally -- opposes the use of military force.

Liu called on “all the parties concerned to exercise restraint, avoid provocative actions, and belligerent rhetoric, demonstrate the will for unconditional dialogue, and work actively together to defuse the tension."

Haley said North Korea's actions were "quickly closing off the possibility of a diplomatic solution."

However, Russia's Safronkov said military force should not be considered against North Korea.

Both China and Russia also called for the United States to halt the deployment of its THAAD antimissile system in South Korea.

"We express our support to the idea of North and South Korea engaging in dialogue and consultations," Safronkov said.

In a joint statement, Russia and China said on July 4 that they agree on the need for a simultaneous freezing of North Korea's missile and nuclear program and large-scale military exercises by the United States and South Korea as a compromise to ease tensions.

U.S. President Donald Trump has expressed frustration with China for not putting more pressure on North Korea.

Trump wrote on Twitter, "Trade between China and North Korea grew almost 40% in the first quarter. So much for China working with us -- but we had to give it a try!"

South Korea President Moon Jae-in, speaking in Berlin ahead of the G20 summit, said the ICBM test was "a big threat and provocation. North Korea should stop this immediately," adding that "more intensive possibilities of sanctions" should be considered.

With reporting by BBC, Reuters, AP, AFP, TASS, CNN, and Interfax
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